Code Hero And Religious Symbolization In The Works Of Ernest Hemingway
From using techniques of repetition for effect, acquired from previous mentors, to utilizing a theory of writing referred to as iceberg, because icebergs are elusive at first glance likewise the deeper meaning in a novel,Ernest Hemingway has unique techniques to creating realistic, penetrating images, that also hold a deeper meaning (Werlock 1).Hemingway’s profound works adapt literary views that gives readers the experience to reflect the novel on more than just its storyline, such as having characters represent Code Hero and characteristic symbolism in regards to Christianity.The protagonist in Hemingway’s novels The Old Man and the Sea and A Farewell to Arms, precisely embodies the concept of code hero and exemplifies religious symbolism.
Continuously, characters that follow the Code Hero are written by Hemingway to learn and develop through the novel in the form of physical or mental stress (Oliver 1).The character that represents code hero takes previous pain or failure to develop a mindset that leads them to become a graceful character.The authoritative presence of the code hero offers a sense of masquerading fiction (Clifford 13), as well as promotes the idea that disappointment, determination, and death are realistic aspects of life.Once it is accepted that all life ends with death, it becomes easier to live a life of honor and courage.
The code hero suffers from previous pain and disappointment, then later uses that experience to view situations in a way so that they can remain graceful in disruption.Many believe this code is demonstrated in Hemingway’s works because he himself follows the code of ethics and fits the criteria of Code Hero.Hemingway uses a terse style of words to present his reality through the lives of his characters (Werlock 1).He shows his adventurous side through his characters by including things he pursues in his real life, such as hunting, fishing, and war (1).By doing this, we can see how Hemingway expresses himself through his writing.
This is the Hemingway ‘code’- a ‘grace under pressure.’It is made of the controls of honor and courage which in a life of tension and pain make a man a man and distinguish him from the people who follow random impulses, let down their hair, and are generally messy, perhaps cowardly, and without inviolable rules for how to live holding tight (Clifford 14).
The code is a reflection of being a real man who can remain in control despite lives struggles.Relatively, the hero is almost always male or containing the attributes of one (Clifford 15).All of Hemingway’s works were analysed in 1966, in Philip Young’s seminal study, were his analysis of Hemingway’s Code Hero finds that a single perspective or desire prevails over a less useful or less “manly,” position in the text (Clifford 14).Santiago and Fredric validate these codes by showing triumph and conquering an opposing position. Santiago, the Hemingway Hero, prevails over the great marlin on his three day adventure, the same way Fredric overcomes physical and emotional suffering.
In The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago portrays code hero through his determination and strength in the course of his life, despite his hardships and struggles.After going eighty four days without catching a fish, he was viewed salao, the worst form of unlucky (The Old Man and the Sea 9).Besides the fact, he continued to pursue a simple life and never gave up on fishing.“Only I have no luck anymore. But who knows? Maybe today. Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky.But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready” (32).Santiago displays Hemingway’s code hero by gracefully persevering and showing courage, despite his unlucky past.
In support of this, Santiago sailed far out in attempts to finally catch a fish after eighty fifth days of failure.The gentle pull on his line suddenly became hard and unbelievably heavy, leading him to see he has finally hooked not just a fish, but a huge Marlin (43).The thin, old Cuban man had deep wrinkles and already had deep-creased scars from the cord holding the heavy fish, as well as brown blotches on his cheeks from the skin cancer that the sun brings (10).Under his extremely poor conditions, it seemed clear that he would not be able to pull up the Marlin.One night, the fish suddenly tugged, pulling Santiago down on his face and leaving him with a cut below his eye (52); however, Santiago was still faithful to the code and in control of his courage.He reacts to the force of the fish by yelling out to it, “I’ll stay with you until I am dead” (52).Santiago remains confident and strives to be as worthy as his favorite baseball player, Dimaggio.DiMaggio is symbolic of survival since he remained calm and played through the pain of the bone spur in his heel (68).Santiago praises him for this and it gives him the grit to proceed, despite the painhe is in.By striving for such a goals, it shows the strength in Santiago that makes a Hemingway Hero (Clifford 16).
To continue, Santiago’s suffering overall exemplified his heroism.The marlin he fought so hard for was mutilated by a shark, for it was so much faster and stronger that it had no enemy (The Old Man and the Sea 101). Despite this devastating loss, Santiago never showed the pain he felt.During his three exhausting days at sea he says “pain does not matter to a man” (84).This justifies that he portrays Hemingway’s code, as well as engages in it’s definitely masculine ideal (Clifford 15).Hemingway’s attribution of gender roles is also portrayed through Santiago’s feminine view of the sea.He called the sea la mar because in Spanish, when someone loves a female they call her this (The Old Man and the Sea 29).This is symbolic of his love for fishing, regardless of his previous defeats.He refers to the marlin and shark in masculine form because they have qualities of what “make a man a man” as they adopt narrative roles (Clifford 15).Hemingway also sends messages to the reader symbolically through Santiago’s eyes.Everything about Santiago seemed old except his eyes, cheerful and undefeated(The Old Man and the Sea 10).The youthfulness in his jubilant eyes, which symbolized how he looked past his unluckiness and constantly continues to show courage through pain, succeeding the code hero.Santiago braves age, exhaustion, terrible cramps in his hand, and a three day battle at sea, trying to capture a great marlin, only to lose it to a shark (Werlock 2).“But a man is not defeated,” he said.“A man can be destroyed but not defeated” (103).In the end of the novel, Santiago was weak and dying; however, he was mentally strong as a result of pursuing the code.
In continuation, Hemingway’s Code Hero is also demonstrated in his novel, A Farewell to Arms. With the support of Catherine, Frederic Henry develops and grows throughout the novel, resulting in his identification as the code hero.They empower each other and despite Frederic’s grief from war, he can find some happiness in her. Speaking on code hero, many readers of Hemingway’s narratives have discovered the pattern of traits in his characters and formed a standard paradigm.The model of a code hero shows that any desires or other perspectives that gets in the way of the hero’s quest are silenced (Clifford 13).This shows how Hemingway uses code hero to advance the plot and reader’s experience.Catherine is executed as Frederic’s desire and when he starts to show weakness, affecting his pursuit of the code, she passes away, fulfilling the model and completing his transition into the Hemingway hero.
In continuation, the novel begins with the lines “At the start of the winter came the permanent rain and with the rain came the cholera. But it was checked and in the end only seven thousand died of it in the army” (A Farewell to Arms 4).Right from the beginning of the story it is noticeable that Frederic has a corrupt perception from the war.In battle, he claims to have leaned over and touched his knee, only to feel it was no longer there (55).His pain and suffering forms him into the code hero the same way Santiago’s did in The Old Man and the Sea.How he proceeds with courage, Catherine gives Frederic courage. The wounded lieutenant falls in love with Catherine Barkley, an English nurse who tends his wounds, in the devastation of Italy (Werlock 2).Their relationship grows from physically healing into psychological healing.The Hemingway hero faces struggles with the courage, following the paradigm (2).Catherine, who is very courageous, transfers this trait to her partner; therefore, developing him into the man Hemingway’s code portrays. This quotes is later exemplified through the fact that Frederic faces the loss of his love with stoic courage, later deciding to tell the tragic story (2).
Hemingway uses the character of Catherine to transfer Frederic the traits he needs in order to succeed the code.She is “a brave good girl” (A Farewell to Arms 313) as Frederic tells her when she goes into child birth.Here it is visual to the reader that they rely on and support each other, almost as if they were one.She is showing bravery and strength through her childbirth, and later on this trait is transfers to Fredric while he mourns the death of his lover.Correspondingly, Catherine says “There isn’t any me. I’m you.Don’t make up a seperate me” (A Farewell to Arms 115).The exchange of power exemplified through Fredric and Catherine is such powerful symbolism of Code Hero exemplified through them both.Their transaction of control and strength shows that they portray the hero as one, up until Catherine’s death; then Frederic completely represents the code.As stated in the novel, Frederic would unpin Catherine’s hair, and once it was all down she would drop her head and they would be both inside of it (A Farewell to Arms 114).This is an example of symbolism of them letting her hair down, whereas they are completely comfortable together, as well as showing the key aspect of letting your hair down in code hero (Clifford 14).
They also projectify the code hero by displaying control in the state of suffering.Frederic was so corrupt that he did not notice his child was still-born; however, he realizes that Catherine had a connection with her baby.“He had never been alive.Except in Catherine.” (A Farewell to Arms 327).Henceforth, she suffers this loss, yet continues to show courage.When she is in the hospital she acts as a ‘grace under pressure’ and tells Frederic she is not afraid (330).While she shows acts of courage, Frederic goes to drink in the café. (329). “The Hemingway hero exists, ideally in a world of independent heroes...and always masculine in terms of narrative roles they adopt” (Clifford 15).At this point of the story, Catherine adopts the role of the hero more than Frederic; however, this changes when she passes.Catherine’s heroism is influenciancial on him and develops his character.In his final statement he says “It was like saying good-by to a statue. After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain” (A Farewell to Arms 332).Altogether, he comes to control his pain, finally developing the code.“The hero dies when the mechanics of the traditional masculine narrative break down and refuse to work according to expectations of both the phallocentric hero and reader.” (Clifford 22)When Catherine dies Frederic accepts that death is inevitable, henceforth maturing and evolving into the code hero.
Besides code hero, Hemingway exemplifies Christian symbolism in his works.“ A man achieving his final symbolic but meaningful triumph in the face of literal disaster carries a redemptive message for all who share the human condition.” (Wilson 373)This is a more passive view on character development than Code Hero.It is based off the hero’s incarnation achieving personally and universally meaning, rather than the acceptance of a nihilistic universe and personal accomodation to get ahead (373).
In The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago’s course of life is symbolic of Christianity.The forty days Manolo was with Santiago and the three days struggling to get the Marlin that are covered by the novella’s action are references to Lent and to Christ’s Passion (Wilson 369).Santiago’s eighty seven days at sea symbolize Ascension Day.“This is the crowning event of Christ’s earthly ministry, so Santiago’s sojourn in the world must be concluded once he has imparted his message of redemption” (Wilson 372).This means that Santiago dies with pride because he fought the Marlin and redeems himself to Manolo.While Christ’s triumph is over physical death, Santiago triumphs over the dentuso and the galanos which, though they destroy the great marlin, cannot diminish his heroism and bravery.He gains redemption by exhibiting immense human strength, which is only indicated when a man is properly attuned to his world.
In addition to his redemption, Santiago is able, again like Christ, to “return to his disciple with the evidence of the hero-deed that he has accomplished” (Wilson 371).In this case, Manolo is his disciple and although he does not have the Marlin, he had the pride and scars to wear to present his deed accomplished.Additionally, Manolo’s faith in Santiago is symbolic of the three weeks bounty after the long barren period.” (Wilson 370).Santiago’s incarnation is foreshadowed when he tells Manolo that his “great record could not happen again” (The Old Man and the Sea 103).Christ’s life on earth constitutes a great record; therefore, only through the Incarnation of Christ can his sacrifice have redemptive value for mankind (Wilson 371). Santiago’s final adventure is also a significant when evaluating Christianity symbolized in the novel.He relayed his message of redemption to the world on Ascension Day (Wilson 372), leading to his demise.
All things considered, Santiago looks to God during painful times. “God help me to have the cramps go,” (The Old Man and the Sea 60) He looks to God for help, adding to the overall religious perspective of his character.Santiago also thanks God that the marlin is travelling and not pulling down (45).His relation to Christ is again executed when he is praying before he eats.“Blessed Mary, pray for the death of this fish.Wonderful though he is.” (The Old Man and the Sea 65).Through this, his relationship with nature is portrayed, likewise God’s relation with nature.
In like manner, A Farewell to Arms also displaces religious symbolism.In regards to Frederic and Catherine, Hemingway develops religious symbolism through the theory that love is their religion.They do not believe in God; however, resort to him when they are struggling.Symbolic representation of religious features constitutes the basic technique by which Hemingway presents his view that men must find value through their life (Wilson 372).
Catherine expressed to Frederic, “You’re my religion.You’ve all I got” (A Farewell to Arms 116).Both lovers understand religion; however, the only thing they truly believe in is their love for each other.When Catherine is dying in the hospital, Frederic asks her if she wants him to get a priest or any one to come and see her.She responds “Just you,” (330).Catherine only loves Frederic, not God; therefore, she only needs him by her side.Frederic prays to God that she doesn’t die (330) and is desperately looking to God to save her, yet he does not believe in anything but the love he and Catherine have for each other.The only other time Frederic looks to God is at war.“Good Christ” (A Farewell to Arms 60) he yells after he is hit with a trench mortar shell.This is significant because war and Catherine’s death are when he feels grief and no love, signifying he believes in God, just does not love him.
In conclusion, Hemingway’s literary works use two different forms of character development to add to the reader’s overall experience.Hemingway uses Santiago from The Old Man and the Sea and Frederic, with the impact of Catherine in A Farewell to Arms to embody the code hero.Such characteristic symbolism is also significantly exemplified through a more passive approach in regards to religion.Such skill is put into the character analysis of these novels through code hero and religious symbolism that all protagonist of Hemingway’s novels seem to join in on these themes through their character development.
Clifford, Stephen P. “Hemingway's Fragmentary Novel: Readers Writing the Hero in ‘In Our Time.".” Hemingway Review, vol. 13, 1994, pp. 12–23. Academic Search Premier, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=9407182848&site=ehost-live. Accessed 13 Feb. 2018.
Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. Vintage, 1999.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1952.
Oliver, Charles M. “Code Hero in the Works of Ernest Hemingway.” Critical Companion to Ernest Hemingway, Facts On File, 2007. Bloom's Literature, online.infobase.com/Auth/Index?aid=18231&itemid=WE54&articleId=14545.
Werlock, Abby H. P. “Hemingway, Ernest.” Encyclopedia of the American Novel, 3-Volume Set, Second Edition, Facts On File, 2013. Bloom's Literature, online.infobase.com/Auth/Index?aid=18231&itemid=WE54&articleId=7909.
Wilson Jr., G.R. “Incarnation and Redemption in the Old Man and the Sea.” Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 14, Newberry College, 1977, p. 369. Academic Search Premier, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=7151156&site=ehost-live. Accessed 13 Feb. 2018.